Is It Better to Check Into a Hotel In Person or Online?

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Does using a hotel’s online check in option really save time? And how does it impact your chances of upgrades or other perks?

I always go back and forth on this option, usually favoring in-person check in at hotels. Perhaps a cheerful demeanor + elite status will sway the front desk towards an upgrade more than just a computer algorithm. That’s probably silly though since usually any upgrades have been pre-determined by the hotel, but still that theory persists.

And as for saving time, it probably depends on the hotel. My invitation last weekend didn’t make it seem like it would save that much time since it still required stopping by the front desk, but I still decided to give it a try.

Hyatt fairfax online check in option

I was staying at a local Hyatt on Friday to make it easier to pre-game and catch a cheap taxi to the UFC. I wanted to arrive before before rush hour traffic but also needed to work during the afternoon so I decided to give online check in a try and request a 1PM arrival time. Perhaps the computer would be more flexible about early I could check in. 🙂

I received a confirmation page telling me I’d be emailed when my room was ready. I wound up having a last minute meeting so didn’t arrive at the hotel until about 3PM.

Still without notification that my room was ready. I approached the front desk to check in the old fashioned way. They noted I had checked in online, but that “the room I had picked” or rather the room that had been assigned online wasn’t ready. Would it be ok if they moved me to one that was?

I asked if there was anything special about the original room, as in, was it a suite or have a great view? Nope, it was the same type as the one they could move me to.

I settled into my room and got to work. An hour later I had an email letting me know my room was ready. Marketing and travel geek that I am, I found myself wondering how the room assignment technology actually works.

For now, I’m probably going to continue checking in at the hotel because even if they have a kiosk, it will take the same amount of time to check in as to retrieve my keys.

What’s been your experience?

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